Does Periactin (cyproheptadine) cause side effects?
Periactin (cyproheptadine) is an oral antihistamine used to treat allergic reactions and the skin manifestations of allergic reactions.
Histamine is released by cells of the body during several types of allergic reactions and, to a lesser extent, during some viral infections, such as the common cold. When the histamine binds to receptors on other cells, it stimulates changes within the cells that lead to the release of chemicals that cause sneezing, itching, and increased production of mucus.
Antihistamines compete with histamine for cell receptors and bind to the receptors without stimulating the cells. In addition, they prevent histamine from binding and stimulating the cells. Cyproheptadine also blocks the action of acetylcholine (anticholinergic effect) and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that nerves and muscles use to communicate with one another, and it causes drowsiness.
Off-label uses (non-FDA approved) of cyproheptadine include for spasticity associated with spinal cord injury and to prevent migraine headaches.
Common side effects of cyproheptadine include
- numbness and tingling,
- fast heartbeats,
- high or low blood pressure,
- loss of appetite,
- blurred vision,
- double vision,
- ringing in the ears,
- urinary retention,
- wheezing, and
- stuffy nose.
Serious side effects of cyproheptadine include
Drug interactions of cyproheptadine include
- tricyclic antidepressants, and
- high blood pressure (hypertension) medications that can cause sedation because cyproheptadine adds to the sedating effects.
Cyproheptadine also can intensify the drying effects on moist tissues (such as the eye or mouth) of other medications with anticholinergic properties such as dicyclomine, bethanechol, and probanthine.
Studies in women who are pregnant have not shown that cyproheptadine harms the fetus during the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. However, these studies do not exclude the possibility of harm. Cyproheptadine should be used during pregnancy only if it is clearly needed.
It is unknown if cyproheptadine is excreted in breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
What are the important side effects of Periactin (cyproheptadine)?
Side effects of include:
- Fast heart beat
- High or low blood pressure
- Blurred vision
- Double Vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Urinary retention
- Nasal stuffiness
Other side effects that have been reported include:
- Early menses
- Dryness of mouth, nose, and throat
- Facial dyskinesia
- Tightness of chest
Antihistamines may reduce mental alertness, however, they may occasionally produce excitation in children.
Patients should be warned about driving a car or operating machinery and participating in other activities that require mental alertness and motor coordination.
Antihistamines may add to the sedative effects of alcohol, hypnotics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs.
Antihistamines are more likely to cause
- sedation, and
- hypotension (low blood pressure) in elderly patients.
Periactin (cyproheptadine) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Adverse reactions which have been reported with the use of antihistamines are as follows:
Central Nervous System
Sedation and sleepiness (often transient), dizziness, disturbed coordination, confusion, restlessness, excitation, nervousness, tremor, irritability, insomnia, paresthesias, neuritis, convulsions, euphoria, hallucinations, hysteria, faintness.
Allergic manifestation of rash and edema, excessive perspiration, urticaria, photosensitivity.
Acute labyrinthitis, blurred vision, diplopia, vertigo, tinnitus.
Hypotension, palpitation, tachycardia, extrasystoles, anaphylactic shock.
Hemolytic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia.
Cholestasis, hepatic failure, hepatitis, hepatic function abnormality, dryness of mouth, epigastric distress, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, jaundice.
Urinary frequency, difficult urination, urinary retention, early menses.
Dryness of nose and throat, thickening of bronchial secretions, tightness of chest and wheezing, nasal stuffiness.
Fatigue, chills, headache, increased appetite/weight gain.
Periactin (cyproheptadine) is an oral antihistamine used to treat allergic reactions and the skin manifestations of allergic reactions. Histamine is released by cells of the body during several types of allergic reactions and, to a lesser extent, during some viral infections, such as the common cold. Common side effects of cyproheptadine include drowsiness, sedation, dizziness, restlessness, insomnia, tremors, euphoria, nervousness, irritability, numbness and tingling, weakness, palpitations, fast heartbeats, high or low blood pressure, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, cholestasis, hepatitis, eczema, itching, blurred vision, double vision, ringing in the ears, urinary retention, wheezing, and stuffy nose. Cyproheptadine should be used during pregnancy only if it is clearly needed. It is unknown if cyproheptadine is excreted in breast milk.
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Related Disease Conditions
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
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The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs of a food allergy reaction include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, eczema, asthma, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis. Allergy skin tests, RAST, and ELISA tests may be used to diagnose a food allergy. Though dietary avoidance may be sufficient treatment for mild allergies, the use of an Epipen may be necessary for severe food allergies.
Indoor allergens are substances that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Common sources of indoor allergens include dust mites, cockroaches, molds, pets, and plants. Avoiding indoor allergens is one way to reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics may cause eye allergies. Allergic eye conditions include allergic conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis with atopic dermatitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Dry eye, tear-duct obstruction, and conjunctivitis due to infection are frequently confused with eye allergies. Eye allergies may be treated with topical antihistamines, decongestants, topical mast-cell stabilizers, topical anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic medications, and allergy shots.
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Medications & Supplements
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.